TBDBITL Alumni Club

The Best Damn Band In The Land - The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni

Richard Allen Berry

June 25, 1948 - September 15, 2019

Richard Allen Berry, age, 71, passed peacefully into the arms of his Savior on September 19, 2019, at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore, Maryland, surrounded by family and medical staff due to an automobile accident in the Baltimore area. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Janet L. (McClure) Berry; sons, Edgar Allen Berry (Peg) and James William Berry (Casey); grandson, Dawson James Berry; granddaughters, Chelsey Hunter (Ian) and Kenzie Streng; great grandson, Axel Hunter; nephew, Matt Weygandt (Melissa); niece, Michelle Kilner (Dan). He is preceded in death by parents, Edgar John Berry and Mildred L. Hershey Berry; brother, Edgar John Berry II; daughter-in-law, Michelle Wickline Berry.

Richard was the second son for Edgar and Mildred Berry who raised both of them in Mansfield, Ohio. At a very young age, Richard was hit with asthma and the doctor recommended he learn to play the trumpet. This started his love for music. In 1966 he graduated from Mansfield Senior High School where he was involved in all bands and orchestras. His band director was the late Percy Hall and his parents had already started taking him for lessons at Ohio State with Richard Suddendorf. Making the OSU marching band, under the direction of the late Dr. Charles Spohn, locked him into being a teacher. There he studied conducting with the late Dr. Donald McGinnis and was a member of his concert band. While in the marching band he was fortunate enough to see the Buckeyes win a Rose Bowl in 1969 and in the same year, march in the inaugural parade for President Nixon. Before graduation from OSU, he met and fell in with a clarinet player, Jan, whom he married on June 6th, 1969. Richard started teaching at Fredericktown High School in 1970. The band became so large that it caused a scheduling issue. Here he had the chance to really try everything he learned at OSU. His students competed at contests on all levels. While here, Richard started his MA work at OSU and finished in 1975. It was very hard to leave their home on Knox Lake because he loved to fish. However, "The Music Man" moved on to Orange High School in Pepper Pike, Ohio, in 1974. Here he built this program back up and taught strings, string orchestra, jazz band and had superior ratings for his concert bands, ensembles and soloist. In 1978, Richard took his family, which now included 2 sons and a cat, to Niles High School to be the supervisor of music and then, in 1979 Lawrenceburg High School in Indiana was home along the Ohio River. An opening at Jeffersonville High School, located across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, caused him to move again to this very large high school in 1982. In every community he lived in so far, he was asked to direct a church choir and he was prepared to do so because of the choir class he took with Helen Swank at OSU. He loved his adult church choirs with a passion. At Jeffersonville, he would once again, take a small program and built it up to be the talk of the area. Here he had a full string orchestra, music theory classes, two bands and conducted pit orchestras for the spring musicals, including a world premiere of "Fame!" After his oldest son, Ed, chose OSU to major in music and made the marching band on trombone, the family moved to Jackson, Ohio, in 1989, which was just 1.5 hours from campus. Here, Dick felt like he was home. In every school system, he dearly loved his students, but there was something about the hills in southeastern Ohio which reminded him of Mansfield. He started with around 25 students for marching band that fall, and it grew as former students quickly came back. In Jackson, it did not take long before the size of the band became the biggest and one of the best in the area. He was always humbled by the community support which came whenever the band needed more uniforms, more or new equipment, rain coasts, food, support for trips to Disney World, to Chicago parades, to the Kentucky Derby, Athens to play for an OU game and the list goes on and on. Here Richard stayed for 16 years until he retired in 2005 to move to be closer to his doctors at OSU. In every community Richard taught, he made sure a student could join band at any time, the students participated in local and out of state parades and events, and any student could call him at any time if they needed help of any kind. His phone number was always on the chalk boards and they always received the pre-prom speech, "if you need help call! Jan and I will come pick you up and drive you home." His students have performed at parades across the country, band days at colleges, they have been selected to perform at colleges who did not have a band, Sea World, Disney World, Niagara Falls, Toronto Canada, holiday parades in Chicago, the Kentucky Derby parade, pregame skull sessions at OSU and they have become members of outstanding college and military bands. Richard was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Beta Mu, OMEA, MENC, a Mason, a Shriner, Tap's Across America and many others. He also received recognitions from the communities where he taught for his dedicated work both with students and in the communities. His passions outside of teaching, church choirs and family were reading, golfing, fishing and gardening. Maybe now he is doing these things...

A Celebration of Life will be held at Richard's last teaching position, Jackson High School, 500 Vaughn Street, Jackson, Ohio; the celebration will be held on Sunday, October 20th, 2019 at 4:00 PM in the gymnasium with family receiving friends immediately prior from 2:00-4:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, please consider "paying forward" by donating to one of Richard's favorite causes: The Richard Berry Memorial Scholarship, c/o Jackson City Schools Band Boosters, PO Box 255, Jackson, Ohio 45640; ONLINE to - GIVE TO OSU - The TBDBITL Scholarship Fund #607138 or GIVE TO OSU - Courtney Williams Fund in Heart Failure Research #315265. The service will be officiated by Associate Pastor, Janie Karl, from Christ United Methodist Church and directed by the Lewis & Gillum Funeral Home of Jackson, Ohio. To read more about Richard's life and visit the online guestbook, go to www.lewisgillum.com.

Navy football trainer loses father in auto accident following East Carolina game

by Bill Wagner
Capital Gazette
September 26, 2019

Richard Berry was a huge Ohio State football fan. That was only natural considering he was an alumnus and former member of the renowned Ohio State marching band.

Berry and his wife Jan had season tickets and attended almost every Buckeyes home game held at Ohio Stadium.

However, for the last three years the couple became Navy football season ticket holders as well. That's because they were so proud of their son who is the head athletic trainer for the Navy football team.

"My dad loved Navy football almost as much as Ohio State, which is really saying something," said Jim Berry, whose official title is associate athletic director for sports medicine at Navy.

"He loved that Navy, and the other two service academies, represented the purest amateur football there is anymore. He loved the pageantry of a game day at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and loved watching me work on the sideline," Berry added.

Richard and Jan Berry attended the Navy-East Carolina game on Sept. 14. Tragedy struck the following day as they were traveling back home to Ohio.

The Berry's had left their hotel near BWI Airport and were headed to a restaurant in Columbia for brunch when their vehicle was broadsided. Richard Berry, who was riding in the passenger seat, was flown to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center with serious injuries. He wound up dying the following Thursday due to complications related to those injuries.

Jan Berry sustained three fractured ribs and a concussion and was released from the hospital on Sunday evening.

Head coach Ken Niumatalolo spoke on behalf of everyone involved with Navy football in expressing condolences to the entire Berry family.

"I just want to say that we send our love to Jim and his family. Our hearts go out to them," Niumatalolo said. "We love Jim and we are here for him."

Richard Berry was 71 years old and had recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary. Jim Berry, who spent the better part of five days at the University of Maryland Medical Center monitoring his father's condition, has returned to work and will be on the sideline Thursday night when Navy meets Memphis at the Liberty Bowl.

"I had to come back to work because I really needed to pull the Band-Aid off," Berry told The Capital this week. "I doubt I'll stop thinking about this for a long, long time. I know it's going to be very hard moving forward. I'm told the worst part will be the constant year of firsts that will come around."

Berry and his wife Casey are expecting their first child in early December with the due date scheduled for shortly after the annual Army-Navy game. That will be difficult since Richard and Jan were looking forward to having a new grandchild.

Jim Berry has been working for the Naval Academy Athletic Association since 2004, which means an entire department has wrapped its arms around him.

"You just cannot put a value on staying in one place for so many years. When you are invested in a community in which you work, it means the world," Berry said. "NAAA is my extended family and everyone here has provided a huge amount of support in this time of grief."

Berry was grateful to the rest of the Navy athletic training staff, particularly football assistants Emily Teson and Sean Nelson, for stepping up in his absence. He thanked the team doctors - John Wilckens, Lance LeClere and Capt. Rich Quattrone - for devising a plan to cover the Memphis game if Berry was unable to travel.

Richard Berry was a 1970 graduate of Ohio State University and forever treasured his time as a member of the "The Best Damn Band in the Land." He performed at the 1969 Rose Bowl when Ohio State beat USC to capture the national championship and met Jan because they had adjoining lockers at the Ohio State School of Music.

Richard was part of a strong Ohio State Marching Band alumni group that gathered annually for the football season opener. Two alumni bands join the current Ohio State Marching Band to perform a quadruple script Ohio.

The elder Berry became a high school band director, spending most of his 36 years in education at Jeffersonville High in Indiana and Jackson High in Ohio.

"Dad took his bands to tons of festivals and parades over the years. I remember they always went to the Brock's Christmas Parade in Chicago," Jim Berry said. "My dad was all about exposing kids to new places and teaching them about life in the United States."

Richard and Jan Berry retired and moved to Columbus 13 years ago. He loved spending time on Lake Erie fishing for walleye or perch and was an avid gardener.

Having two musicians as parents naturally led Jim Berry to play an instrument and he was a member of the symphonic orchestra, jazz ensemble and marching band at Jackson High. He was also a three-sport athlete and developed an interest in sports medicine through those experiences.

"My dad is the reason why I wound up at Ohio State," said the younger Berry, who was planning to attend Ohio University. "He did all the research and discovered that Ohio State had a program. My dad was always supportive of my goal of becoming a trainer."

Jim Berry, who served as a student trainer at Ohio State, did an internship with the Cleveland Browns then worked at Kent State University while obtaining a master's degree in sports and recreation management.

Prior to the 2017 season, Berry succeeded Dr. Jeff Fair as the head athletic trainer for Navy football, continuing a legacy that was started by the late, great Leon "Red" Romo. That promotion brought Richard and Jan into the Navy football family and they enjoyed spending weekends in Annapolis whenever home games were held.

Sadly, the weekend of the East Carolina game would be their last together.

"My mom and dad came to the team hotel on Friday night like they always did. They talked to Coach Niumat and Coach Ingram, spent some time with Doc Wilckens," Jim Berry said. "I got them postgame passes so they could come down and hang out in the training room after the game. They had a great time as always."

Richard was a member of the marching band from 1966 through 1970. He played efer.